First on CNN: Newly discovered hack has US fearing foreign infiltration

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Latest Hack Like “Stealing a Master Key to Get Into Any Government Building”.

Washington (CNN) — A major breach at computer network company Juniper Networks has U.S. officials worried that hackers working for a foreign government were able to spy on the encrypted communications of the U.S. government and private companies for the past three years. The hackers, who have yet to be officially identified, introduced code to create a backdoor on systems commonly used by government employees — many of whom presumably have high security clearances. Juniper disclosed the issue Thursday (December 17) along with an emergency security patch that it urged customers to use to update their systems “with the highest priority.” The concern, U.S. officials said, is that sophisticated hackers who compromised the equipment could use their access to get into any company or government agency that used it. On its website, the company boasts of providing networks that “US intelligence agencies require.” Its routers and network equipment are widely used by corporations, including for secure communications.

Juniper said in its security alert that it wasn’t aware of any “malicious exploitation of these vulnerabilities.” However, the alert also said that attackers would leave behind no trace of their activity by removing security logs that would show a breach. “Note that a skilled attacker would likely remove these entries from the log file, thus effectively eliminating any reliable signature that the device had been compromised,” the Juniper security alert said. According to a Juniper Networks spokeswoman’s statement, “Once we identified these vulnerabilities, we launched an investigation and worked to develop and issue patched releases for the impacted devices.

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